The Writer’s Block: A Video Q&A with Larry Siems
Guantanamo Diary is a memoir by Mohamedou Slahi, a Mauritanian citizen who has been held in legal limbo at Guantanamo Bay for thirteen years and five months. He has never been charged with a crime. His 2005 account of his “endless world tour” of detention and interrogation – from Mauritania to Jordan, Afghanistan, and finally Guantanamo – was declassified and released with thousands of redactions from the United States government after years of litigation. Mohamedou wrote it in English, his fourth language, while held in an isolation camp.
Writer and activist Larry Siems, who worked for years as the director of PEN USA and PEN American Center’s Freedom to Write programs, prepared Guantanamo Diary for publication. He came to City of Asylum in November 2015 to share Mohamedou Slahi’s story, a role, he was sure to emphasize, that should have belonged to Mohamedou himself.